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First team


Our head coach looked ahead to the weekend's game against Celta
Cuerpo Superior

In an extended press conference on Friday, Quique Sánchez Flores shared his thoughts ahead of this Sunday's game against Celta de Vigo: "We always have to think about how to play in the way that works best for us. On top of the recent upturn in results, we now have a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each player, and so we know how to approach things going forward. It's great that we're picking up points at the moment as there are lots of good teams in LaLiga. We're putting across our ideas and now taking the players not another level physically. On the one hand, we have a basis of a playing style, but we still feel things were not in the right place and, at times, like the other day, we are vulnerable because a lack of organisation. We must have solid plan above all else, so that the quality of the players can shine through."

Celta arrive with a new coach: "It forces us to be alert. What always happens in that first game with a new coach is that all the players start from scratch and want to show that they can be useful. That generates a degree of optimism and excitement that we know is going to happen. On the other hand, Celta's form this season hasn't been great. We have to try and apply pressure to do as much damage as we can.

Turning to individual names, he spoke about Kike Salas not receiving a call-up to the Spain Under-21 squad and Navas' continued inclusion in the senior side: "While I always respect the coaches, I'm a little surprised about Kike because I think he's an exceptional player. If he needs more time, so be it, but I think he has progressed really well as a player so there isn't much room for improvement. I don't think he'll have any issues being selected in the future. With regard to Jesús, today he had his individual video and when you sit down with him he doesn't look as old as he is, or have as many caps as he has. He is where he deserves to be because he is humble, he listens, asks questions and has the curiosity of a youngster. I'm very happy that he's continues to be picked by the national team."

"Kike Salas, sooner or later, will be in contention for the national team"

He also reiterated what he recently said about players returning from injury: "It's only been four days since the last press conference. There have only been four more training sessions. These are guys who are coming back from injuries that kept them out for a while. That makes them very keen and motivated, but they have still suffered serious injuries. They're as well prepared as possible by the fitness coaches but they still building there way back up to a full 90 minutes. Hopefully, we can get them on the pitch when we need them and they can give it their all.” Specifically, he spoke about Lukebakio: "We've asked a lot about the position he played before coming here. We know he played as a winger and a striker, and here on the left, he's done very well, which I love. He has great physique, speed, and striking ability. He seems like a fantastic signing to me." Additionally, he was optimistic about En-Nesyri: "I think he will be available for Sunday.” 

Regarding Jordán, Agoumé, and Jordán, the most recent players to return from injury, they are still a doubt: "They have been cleared by the medical staff to play but we have to see if we can take the risk because it is a very demanding game.” On the January signings he commented that "what we do is train the players. We don't differentiate between those who signed at different points. We treat them all equally, with the same vision. What they give us back is what encourages us to use them in certain position."

And as for his assessment after three months in charge, he remained cautious: "I'm in the precarious situation of not being able to focus on anything other than the team. I don’t think too far into the future. The first month was difficult but we have improved since but I know that if I lose focus for a moment, things can become worse. A lot has changed since that first month where I knew a lot about the opponent but not as much about my own team. Now I know the team very well and it makes me more relaxed.”

"I'm not thinking about what will happen further down the line"

After six pointa out of six at home, there's no reason to hold back: "There's no reason to be confident about anything, but we need to have the vision to want to enjoy the games. We've played two very good games in Nervión and we want to go into this third one with the same desire and the same enthusiasm as we did against Atlético and Real Sociedad. We have to keep up this momentum in these remaining games, channeling the energy of our fans, doing what this club is known for. The game is going to be difficult, but if we play well then the players will deserve huge credit.

Asked about Rafa Mir's situation, he added: "I have to say that he is training much better and it's possible that at any moment he could appear in the squad. But there are more and more players and it's a question of what the tactical staff suggest. I have nothing against him, we have a good relationship on a day-to-day basis and he is preparing himself in case he has to play".

Back to his own future, Quique gave the same answer: "I don't want to think beyond what this season is, to focus on the present as the only thing that matters. We can only control this current outcomes and things are going well for me at the moment. I try not to think beyond that so let's just see what happens. There will always be speculation, but I want to be focus on being the Sevilla coach for the next ten games and to do my best. I want to stay connected to the fans, enjoy the games and for the fans to be with us. I don't see anything beyond that."

He was then asked about each of our striking options starting with Veliz: "These things depend a lot on the coach. We have the players each day but it is what they give us in those moments. At times, we have liked what we have seen from him and other times not so much. He faces very tough competition, and we know that there are two forwards in very good form. He knows he has to change his performances to have more opportunities."

Then, on Isaac Romero: "With Isaac's level of performance I think he has a style of play that isn’t temporary. He’s come in and made an instant impact and I think he will continue to perform. If he is not called up (to the national team) it will come soon enough. He scares opponent’s defences.” Finally he spoke about Mariano: "I don't like to speak about medical issues, but what he has is bad knee pain, which is used for every movement. When we see him agile, changing direction, jumping, and able to move with the necessary agility, he will have a chance of getting back into the team.”